Columbia Heights pizzeria Piola, which specializes in Italian-style thin-crust pizza, will premiere its "No Limit" Pizza Brunch this Saturday, August 17 from 11 a.m.—3 p.m. In addition to unlimited wood-fired pies, brunch-goers can also opt to add bottomless sparkling drinks and sangria. Piola is the first D.C. location of the international Treviso-based chain, which was founded in 1986 and boasts 38 outposts worldwide. Owners Nabil and Jihane Ashi - who also opened an Arlington location in 2006 - are avid proponents of the diverse international flavor profiles that comprise the menu.
Brunch offerings at the 14th Street restaurant, which opened to the public in June, currently include over 10 pies that range from classic Italian combinations like the Capricciosa (tomato sauce, mozzarella, ham, artichoke, and mushrooms) to international varieties such as the Breakfast in Beirut ("zaatar" and olive oil, served with "labneh," olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, and fresh mint) and plays on traditional brunch fare like the Cancun (tomato sauce, mozzarella, onions, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and capers). Those looking for something stronger than coffee can indulge in unlimited sangria and sparkling drinks like bellinis, house-squeezed orange juice mimosas, rossinis and Aperol Spritz – a classic Venetian cocktail made with orange liqueur.
The eatery also recently launched L'Aperitivo Italiano, its signature Italian-style happy hour: every day from 5-8 p.m., guests can stop by for complimentary finger foods and discounted beer, wine and cocktails. The lunch and dinner menus feature over 40 different pizzas - all cooked in a wood-burning oven - as well as signature Piola dishes such as homemade gnocchi. Though the larger menu is rooted in Italian cuisine, individual Piola restaurants often curate dishes that reflect the gastronomic traditions of their immediate locales. For instance, the Rio de Janeiro pie, developed with South American Piola locations in mind, features catupiry, a rare Brazilian cheese. The Roka Cabana - a layered tower of arugula, mozzarella fior di latte, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, pistachio nuts and pomegranate dressing - merges Turkish and Italian flavors. Some fare is unique to the DC location, like the Barbabietola (red beets, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh oranges tossed with olive oil) and the Topo Gigio salad (mixed greens, arugula, premium Italian tuna, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, palm hearts, onions, fresh bean sprouts, carrots, walnuts, and Dijon mustard dressing).
The expansive two-story interior - imagined by Venetian designer Oscar Scomparian - combines raw and modern decor elements: industrial furnishings, exposed pipes and brick walls, and graphic maps, and murals permeate the 80-seat dining room and 20-seat bar. Picture windows and skylights fill the space with natural light, while custom lanterns illuminate the main staircase. A raised dining area on the split-level second floor, which overlooks 14th street, provides an all-encompassing view of the lower levels.